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St. Francis Xavier Catholic School Holds “Topping Out” to Raise the Final Beam at Construction Site

May 3, 2022 – St. Francis Xavier Catholic School held a Topping Out Ceremony on the construction site of its new school. “Topping out” is a ceremony traditionally held when the last beam is placed atop a structure during its construction.

St. Francis Xavier, the oldest private school in Brunswick, Ga., broke ground on the 30,000-square-foot campus in November of 2021.  Staff, students, local dignitaries, as well as representatives of Savannah-based architecture firm Felder & Associates, and West Construction Company gathered again as the last piece of steel was raised into place. Guests signed the beam ahead of the ceremony, and young students who can’t write, yet, left their marks with a thumbprint. 

“It is important to preserve these types of traditions,” said Brian Felder, managing principal of Felder & Associates. “Topping out ceremonies serve as an important benchmark for those involved in the construction of this school and the children who will study, learn and grow here.”

The new building will encompass preschool through eighth grade, featuring classrooms with the latest technology, as well as a cafetorium, computer lab, science lab, honors classrooms, library, and music room. The building itself will incorporate a unique blend of modern constructions benefits and traditional architecture. The campus will also include a new playground and play surfaces that will be self-contained with modern safety and security measures.   

“The future is bright for our children, with a new, modern facility to enhance their educational opportunities so close to being completed,” said Dr. Terry Mermann, principal of St. Francis Xavier Catholic School. “Knowing that our mark will remain on the infrastructure of the steel building lends even more significance to this undertaking and reenergizes us for the next stage of this building project.”

Matt West, President of West Construction, said, “This ceremony dates back to 700 A.D. and is believed to bring good luck to the builders and the owners. As blessed as we have been with the construction to this point, we’re looking forward to a safe and successful project going forward. It’s only fitting that a ceremony with this much history is held at a parish as historic as St. Francis Xavier.“

Savannah Business Journal : https://bit.ly/3LJdZ8Z

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J.C. Lewis Ford Holds Groundbreaking

By: Savannah CEO

J.C. Lewis Ford, Georgia’s oldest Ford Dealer, held a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, April 1, for a new Ford Dealership and Quick Lane Service Center at 501 Memorial Blvd in Pooler, Georgia. J.C. Lewis Ford retained Savannah-based architecture firm Hussey, Gay, Bell and West Construction Company.

“Our goal is always to meet the needs of our customers. We continue to provide more locations
to choose from while maintaining the level of service that has kept us in business for so long,” said Walter Lewis of J.C. Lewis Ford. “We’ve taken great pride in serving Savannah, Statesboro, Hinesville, and now Pooler. J.C. Lewis is proud to be part of the city of Pooler and its surrounding areas.”

The new 54,500 square-foot facility is powered by solar panels. It offers modern energy-efficient systems and the interior comforts customers have come to expect from J.C. Lewis and Ford. It also features a new Quick-Lane service center, servicing all-makes, where customers won’t need an appointment and can get service while they wait, even on evenings and weekends. Other features include EV charging stations, a coffee bar, free Wi-Fi area, and modern amenities.

J.C. Lewis Ford has proudly served the communities surrounding Savannah, Georgia, since 1912 with expansion to Statesboro in 2014, Hinesville in 2016, and now Pooler. J.C. Lewis employs a team of 300 with more to come with the Pooler expansion, including sales advisers, highly trained and certified service technicians, and financing experts with a special responsibility to each other and the community to maintain the core principles of transparency, integrity, and service.

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St. Francis Xavier breaks ground on new school building

By LAUREN MCDONALD lmcdonald@thebrunswicknews.com

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Brunswick broke ground Friday on a new school building.

The planned facility will be a 30,000-square-foot school in downtown Brunswick at Grant and Howe streets.

Bishop Stephen Parkes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah told parents, students, school staff and others gathered for the ceremony that the new school will be a nice addition to the city’s entrance.

“I know a lot of work has been put in to making it something that is special and something very beautiful for God, and also for all of the young people, the students who will be coming here,” he said. “It’s really an honor for us as part of the Diocese of Savannah to be partnering with you and to be able to create something that will be here to stand as a welcome to the gateway of Brunswick.”

The $9 million project has been made possible by local donors.

“What an exciting day for the city of Brunswick, the community of St. Francis Xavier and the greater church,” said Carrie Jane Williamson, interim superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Savannah. “From the first moment that a student sets foot into a Catholic school, he or she ought to have the impression of entering a new school environment, one illuminated by the light of faith and having its own unique characteristics.

“Today, we gather to break ground on exactly that — a new environment illuminated by the light of faith and the faithful.”

The new school will boast the latest in modern design, she said, and meticulous thought has been given to the school’s features, which will include a broadcasting studio, contemporary spacious classrooms and comprehensive safety and security systems.

Terry Mermann, principal at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School, said he was excited to see the school mark such a milestone.

“It’s so nice to see so many people here today who’ve contributed time, talent, and treasure to get us to this special day,” he said.


AGC Georgia Partners with Regional Contractors to Host Skills Challenge for Southeast Georgia High School Students

  • Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

October 22, 2021 – The Associated General Contractors of Georgia (AGC Georgia) has partnered with West Construction Company, Ace Electric, Inc., and Choate Construction Company to host construction students from 19-area high schools for the Southeast Georgia Workforce Development Alliance Skills Challenge. The competitions will be held on Nov. 2, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Bulloch County Agricultural Complex (44 Arena Blvd., Statesboro, Ga.). The event is one of seven regional events held throughout the state.

Competitions at this Skills Challenge will be held in the following categories: blueprint reading, carpentry, electrical, masonry, plumbing, tile setting, and welding. 

“Our team is proud to be a host contractor for this inaugural southeast Georgia event with the support of many industry firms that are serving as sponsors,” said Matt West, president of West Construction Company. “Beyond inspiring the competitors, we hope to educate students on the numerous career path opportunities available to them in the construction industry.” 

In addition to more than 121 competitors who will participate in this event, another 114 students will attend as observers to learn the process in hopes of competing in future years. Local industry companies provide volunteer judges for each of the skills competitions, as well as the volunteers who offer hands-on activities for student observers. These activities help students become more familiar with specific construction trades.

“AGC Georgia is partnering with regional contractors to host Skills Challenges in seven cities around the state,” said AGC Georgia CEO Mike Dunham. “This series provides an opportunity for high school students to showcase what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it through competition. It’s rewarding to have competitors’ parents, their construction teachers, and school counselors, as well as academic and community leaders, attend to see all the excitement surrounding today’s construction industry.” 

Students from the following construction programs plan to compete in the Southeast Skills Challenge: Bryan County High School, Burke County High School, Camden County High School, Crisp County High School, East Laurens High School, Golden Isles College & Career Academy, Jefferson County High School, Liberty County College & Career Academy, Madison County High School, School of Liberal Arts at Savannah High School, Statesboro High School, Toombs County High School, Vidalia High School, Ware County High School, Wayne County High School, West Laurens High School, Wheeler County High School, Windsor Forest High School, and Woodville Tompkins High School. 

This event also prepares students who go on to compete in the regional SkillsUSA event in January. Winners of that regional event will participate in the state SkillsUSA competition in late February at the Georgia World Congress Center. 

For more information about Skills Challenges, visit www.agcga.org/skills.


Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist starts renovation project

By Sarah Winkelmann| April 14, 2021 at 4:08 PM EDT – Updated April 14 at 5:44 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – An iconic symbol in downtown Savannah is about to get some updates to its current space.

On Wednesday, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah blessed the start of the renovation project at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist. The $4.5 million project will convert the church’s undercroft, what’s essentially the church’s basement, into a parish hall.

Once the project is complete, the space will include a reception hall with seating for 600 people, an expanded chapel, a catering kitchen and new vesting cabinets. The new downstairs will match the beauty of the cathedral with vaulted ceilings, decorated columns and a marble floor.

“I think it is going to be a space that people will be proud of and happy to go into,” said Rev. Gerry Schreck, the rector of the Cathedral. “Though it is the undercroft of the cathedral, it’s going to be an uplifting type of experience for people.”

The demolition work is already finished but now the renovation project will begin. The church expects the project should be complete in 12 months.

Watch the full story on WTOC.COM

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West Construction Company Receives Two Build Georgia Awards for Local Projects

West Construction Company was recently recognized by the Associated General Contractors of Georgia (AGC Georgia) with two Build Georgia Awards for the construction of local projects, the Tybee Island Marine Science Center and the Scottish Rite Masonic Center. 

The Tybee Island Marine Center received a prestigious first-place honor from the AGC. A state of the art 10,000 square foot facility, the center was designed to “bring the outside in” with 270-degree panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Built for the City of Tybee Island, the center features hands-on exhibits and galleries, an amphitheater, and a number of sustainable design features including a rainwater cistern, locally sourced sustainable building materials, and energy-efficient systems. The project team included West Construction, architect Sottile & Sottile, and engineer Kern & Co., LLC. 

The Scottish Rite Masonic Center received an award of merit from the AGC for the 2021 Build Georgia Awards. After being located on Bull Street for over 100 years, the new home for one of Savannah’s longest philanthropic organizations is now located off of Chatham Parkway. The new 24,000 square foot facility features a unique combination of old-world materials and craftsmanship with state-of-the-art energy-efficient components. The design includes multiple exterior ornamental columns, detailed brick, and cast stone exterior, and the largest hardscape mosaic of the Scottish Rite Double Eagle in North America. Inside, the building features a combination of detailed tile flooring, stained oak trim and casework, a full commercial kitchen, a library, and multiple gathering and ceremonial rooms. The project was designed by Peterson Gordon Architects and Coleman Company served as civil engineers. 

AGC Georgia is the leading, statewide trade association representing the commercial construction industry in Georgia. The organization holds an annual awards competition where projects are judged on their ability to demonstrate excellence in several categories including exceptional project safety performance, overcoming the challenges of a difficult project, innovation in construction techniques and materials, excellence in project management and scheduling, and dedication to client service and customer care. The selection panel includes industry professionals and hundreds of projects are submitted annually. 

Award recipients are recognized at the AGC’s annual convention and also featured in a special construction-focused supplement in the June issue of Atlanta Business Chronicle. 


New Enmarket convenience store opens in Pooler, creates 20 jobs

Savannah Morning News

The new Pooler store becomes the 128th store in the growing Savannah-based chain of convenience stores.

Last week, Enmarket opened its latest new store in Pooler.

The new store at 1264 U.S. Highway 80 East, at its corner with Pine Barren Road, is a travel center, serving both regular travelers and heavy truck traffic.

The new Pooler store – Enmarket’s fourth in the west Chatham municipality – becomes the 128th store in the growing Savannah-based chain of convenience stores. Beginning in 2020, The chain’s expansion in Chatham County went from the eastern coastal municipality of Thunderbolt to the explosively growing west Chatham area, including Port Wentworth.

The basic “bones” of the newest building became the fourth store built to Enmarket’s new prototype store design. Like the store that opened earlier this year in Port Wentworth, this iteration is a travel center adapted to dual roles for truck traffic and consumer motorists.

Enmarket expansion:Enmarket opens new store in Thunderbolt

“Growth in the Pooler area called for an additional store, and it needed to be a travel center to serve the diverse demands in that area. You have the growing residential population in that area to serve, and that area of the county is also a pipeline into the Port of Savannah, calling for truck services,” said Brett Giesick, president of Enmarket.

The new Pooler store becomes the 128th store in the growing Savannah-based chain of convenience stores.

The new store offers The Eatery, Enmarket’s signature kitchen, which will offer hot food for all three meals as well as freshly made grab-and-go food options, bean-to-cup coffee and Mooz frozen yogurt. The fuel selection is unleaded, mid-grade, premium, non-ethanol, diesel and truck diesel. Customers looking to bypass the checkout line will have the option of using self-service registers or their mobile phone, utilizing mobile checkout technology with the Skip Checkout app.

New design:Enmarket opens newly rebuilt store

The opening of the store created about 20 jobs.

The four Enmarket stores that have opened in the past 10 months are strategically based around Chatham County – the growing commercial area developing around U.S. Highway 17 and Chatham Parkway, a Port Wentworth store whose clientele includes truck traffic serving the Port of Savannah, a Thunderbolt store in eastern Chatham serving as a gateway to the suburban islands, and the newly opened location serving the fast-growing Pooler area. All four are variations on the modern prototype.

West Construction was the general contractor on the new store.


Construction moving along on new Tybee Island Marine Science Center

By Zach Logan| July 9, 2019 at 10:40 AM EDT – Updated July 9 at 10:40 AM

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) – Next summer, there could be a new attraction to visit on Tybee Island.

Construction continues on the new Tybee Island Marine Science Center. Right now, the center is located on the south end of the island near the pier. But soon, the staff will be moving to the north end of the island near North Beach Bar and Grill.

The Tybee Island Marine Science Center and the City of Tybee Island broke ground on the new building back in February. For several months now, crews have been working to get this building constructed.

Cathy Sakas, Board President for the Marine Science Center, says the center is continuing to educate more children and their families. At last check, the center’s “Sidewalk to the Sea” Program had reached more than 40,000 children.

With growing classroom sizes and the current building in need of major repairs, those with the Marine Science Center decided they needed a new facility.

With the new facilty moving to the north end of the island, that area will offer several educational attractions, and the island is hoping to make it the educational hub of Tybee.

Sakas says they have plans for several different exhibits inside the new building, but still need funds to do so. Those wishing to donate to the Tybee Island Marine Science Center are asked to contact the center directly.